Roman Josi Just Isn’t That Good

The Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings line up for a faceoff

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, this will be a topic you are familiar with. To start, no I do not hate Roman Josi or the Nashville Predators. I don’t hate any player or any team, because they are just guys who are payed to play a game and I can separate facts from emotion. I think the Predators are one of the best teams in the NHL with a smart management group who have a solid shot at winning a cup. I do not think Roman Josi makes this team any closer to winning a cup, in fact he is rather inconsequential.

First off, I think it’s only fair I point out the things Josi does well. Roman Josi is very good at helping his team generate shot attempts. Not high quality attempts granted, but enough that his team scores more goals when he is on the ice (by about 0.04/60). He is also good at preventing high quality chances against. While teams do get lots of shots on Pekka Rinne while Josi is out there, they usually aren’t great chances. Last but not least, Josi is one of the best offensive defenseman in the NHL. Both in terms of raw point totals (his last two seasons saw him net 61 and 55 respectively) and in terms of per 60 stats (his 1.15 points per 60 at even strength is good enough for 13th among defenders, just behind Kris Letang).

Where Roman Josi struggles is in the defensive aspects of the game. As I mentioned before, he is good at preventing high danger attempts against. But he is so bad at stopping the other team from peppering his net with shots that his team still allows quite a few more goals with him on the ice. He allows 11.56 shot attempts per 60 more than his teammates. That is a lot of shots. From this we can expect Josi to allow 0.23 more goals per 60 than his teammates. This is after we adjust for the offensive starts he receives. This means that every time that Josi is on the ice for 60 minutes, he costs his team 0.19 goals. Which means over the course of a season the Preds are worse off by a margin of 5.57 goals given he played 1,455 minutes. Generally speaking a “win” from a player’s perspective is recognized as ~6 goals. So playing Josi on the top pair actually costed the Predators 2 points in the standings.

Roman Josi is probably the most overrated player in the NHL and the Predators would be wise to trade him as he is probably best suited to a third pair, PP specialist role, not unlike Dennis Wideman.

Josi will likely be paired with PK Subban next season, which will definitely make for some exciting hockey. Neither of whom are particularly defensively minded. Perhaps Josi will see some improvement playing with one of the top defenders in the game, instead of the mediocre 2nd pair guy he was playing with before (Shea Weber is a story for another time). But if I’m David Poile, I’m calling every team and asking what their best offer is for Josi, and raking in an excellent return for a not very excellent player.

8 thoughts on “Roman Josi Just Isn’t That Good

  1. Chris Thomas,

    please do not write anymore articles. This is brutal, to say that Josi is the most overrated player in the NHL discredits anything further you have to say on the matter of hockey.

    Josi finished with 61 points this season, just 4th amongst his defensive counter parts and 2nd on Nashville. Played over 25 mins per game and missed one while being on both the pk( over 50% of the teams shorthanded situations) and pp (over 58 %).

    If Poile was even the slightest bit concerned about Josi’s overrated-ness or how many points he costs Nashville, He wouldnt be wearing an A and be given so much responsibility, and if he was, Weber would not have been moved.

    To place Josi into a roll, like you suggested, “a third pair, PP specialist role” would quickly had those in charge of Nashville question who they have in charge of the team, been shown the door, nevermind the less, shopping him to every team.

    Josi also had 185 blocked shots last season, good for 8th in the league and among the top 30 in blocked shots only Karlsson ( 11th in blocked shots) and Burns ( 29th in blocked shots) had more points then him. Poor Rinne and company.

    Josi is not the most overrated NHL player, he is actually very good and a reason he finished 5th in the Norris trophy voting. So again, please dont write anymore articles on hockey matters, but if you must, dont try to plug in few stats to justify a shallow idea that stands on weak legs.

    Amo

    1. Amo,

      You clearly took a rather significant portion of time out of day to write that comment, for which I thought you merited a reply.

      I did in fact acknowledge Josi’s offensive excellence and felt that I attributed a fair amount of valour to that argument. Yes, Josi is one of the most brilliant offensive defenders in the game, that is not something which should be underestimated.

      However, unlike you, I do not base my opinions on players based on how their boss views them. Don’t forget, a team is a business first and foremost and teams, especially small market teams like Nashville are often in a position where roster decisions are made based on who the fans want to see most to sell tickets. Also, team leadership is not always assessed by a players value to the team. Cody McLeod is an alternate captain on the Avs despite being one of, if not their worst player.

      As for Josi, he does not outperform competition or his teammates at even strength. Any players main job is to help their team outscore the other team. This is an output made up of all other inputs, including all of Josi’s shot blocks which you mentioned. So despite being a formidable offensive player, his defensive deficiencies outweigh the value he brings on the other end of the ice. Think of it like earning $10, but spending $20. It’s really good you made that $10, but you spent so much that it doesn’t really matter. It’s the same net value as someone who made $0 but spent $10.

      Also, awards voting is a terrible way of analyzing a players value.

      Hope this helps,

      Chris

    2. “Well other people consider him to be a very good player so therefore he’s not overrated.” Logic at its finest, people.

    3. I would also like to add that one of your defenses is that Josi finished 5th in Norris voting. These are the same voters who picked Doughty over Karlsson last year. Maybe these voters aren’t as informed in their opinions as you might think.

    4. Amo,

      This comment shows that you base your evaluation of Josi purely off of offensive statistics. If that were his primary job then he’d play left wing buddy. Defensively he is not sound and very soft. This is coming from a life long preds fan and someone who played defense for 15+ years. I hated playing with guys like Josi because you couldn’t count on them to lay it all on the line for their team. He’s a pretty boy, flashy type and not a solid defenseman

  2. Just found this site, and this is the first article I see. Yikes. Not only is the writing poor from a technical standpoint, but the logic used and the laughable statement of Josi being “the most overrated player in the NHL” give me the inclination (hope) that this was written in a satirical manner. But it wasn’t.

    Goodbye allinhockey.com, I hardly knew ye.

  3. I 100% agree with you and I am a preds fan since ’98. I said this all last year, Josi was not even our 3rd best defenseman on the team. Yes, he is one of the most skilled defenseman in the NHL and his stats are impressive. But his primary role is to play defense. He does not do that very well. He plays very soft, does not play physical and does not win loose puck battles in the defensive zone. This is all coming to fruition this year now that he is not playing with a true defensive minded partner (Shea Weber). Fans are quick to defend Josi because they don’t understand hockey from a critical standpoint (having played defense for 15 years I am very critical of that position). This article is spot on, and I like the fact that you acknowledged his offensive prowess because in that respect he is one of the best in the league. But from a defensive perspective, I’d rather have Ryan Ellis, Mathias Eckholm, or Yannick Weber out there defending against the other team’s top unit. Thanks for the article

  4. Josi is overrated? – An MVP of a world-championsship? – An All-Star Player? – You’re kidding or you don’t understand anything in hockey matters….

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